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Rivers in India, Check Their Origins, Length & Tributaries

Rivers in India

As we all know that many Defence Exams are going to be conducted in upcoming year. Candidates are searching for all the important relevant GK information available on the internet. Here we are providing you with the complete list of rivers with their lengths, origins, and tributaries for BSF, CISF, CDS, Territorial Army, etc.

Rivers in India

Most of the rivers pass through India and discharge their waters into the Bay of Bengal and very few flow through the western part of the country and fall into the Arabian Sea. Some parts of India is also consisted of inland drainage like in northern parts of the Aravalli range, some parts of Ladakh, and also the arid regions of the Thar Desert. Origination of most of the major rivers of India is one of the three main watersheds given below –

  • The Himalaya and the Karakoram range
  • The Chota Nagpur plateau and Vindhya and Satpura range
  • The Western Ghats

Indian River System

Let’s understand some major River Systems with the help of a table containing information about their length –

Indian River System
River System Total length Length in  India
Indus River System 3180  km 1114 km
Brahmaputra River System 2900 km 916 km
Ganga River System 2510 km 2510 km
Yamuna river System 1376 km 1376 km
Narmada River System 1312 km 1312 km
Tapi River System 724 km 724 km
Godavari River System 1465 km 1465 km
Krishna River System 1400 km 1400 km
Cauvery River System 805 km 805 km
Mahanadi River System 851 km 851 km

Indus River System

The Indus originates in the northern slopes of the Kailash range in Tibet near Lake Mansarovar.

  • It follows a north-westerly course through Tibet.
  • It has a large number of tributaries in both India and Pakistan and has a total length of about 2897 km from the source to the point near Karachi where it falls into the Arabian Sea out of which approx 700km lies in India.
  • It enters the Indian Territory in Jammu and Kashmir where it forms a picturesque gorge.
  • In the Kashmir region, it joins with many tributaries – the Zaskar, the Shyok, the Nubra and the Hunza.
  • It flows through the regions of Ladakh, Baltistan and Gilgit and runs between the Ladakh Range and the Zaskar Range at Leh.
  • It crosses the Himalayas through a 5181 m deep gorge near Attock, which is lying north of Nanga Parbat.
  • The major tributaries of the Indus River in India are Jhelum, Ravi, Chenab, Beas, and Sutlej.

Brahmaputra River System

The Brahmaputra originates from Mansarovar Lake, which is also a source of the Indus and Sutlej.

  • It is 3848 km long, a little longer than the Indus River.
  • Most of its course lies outside India.
  • It flows parallel to the Himalayas in the eastward direction. When it reaches Namcha Barwa, it takes a U-turn around it and enters India in the state of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The undercutting done by this river is of the order of 5500 metres.
  • Here it is known as the Dihang River. In India, it flows through the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam and is connected by several tributaries.
  • The Brahmaputra has a braided channel throughout most of its length in Assam.

The river is known as the Tsangpo in Tibet. It receives less volume of water and has less silt in the Tibet region. But in India, the river passes through a region of heavy precipitation, and as such, the river carries large amounts of water during rainfall and a significant amount of silt. It is considered one of the largest rivers in India in terms of volume. It is known for creating calamities in Assam and Bangladesh.

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Ganga River System

The Ganga originates as the Bhagirathi from the Gangotri glacier.

  • Before it reaches Devprayag in the Garhwal Division, the Mandakini, Pindar, Dhauliganga and Bishenganga rivers merge into the Alaknanda and the Bheling drain into the Bhagirathi.
  • The Pindar River rises from East Trishul and Nanda Devi unites with the Alaknanda at Karan Prayag. The Mandakini meets at Rudraprayag.
  • The water from both Bhagirathi and the Alaknanda flows in the name of the Ganga at Devprayag.

The concept of Panch Prayag

  1. Vishnuprayag: where the river Alaknanda meets river Dhauli Ganga
  2. Nandprayag: where river Alaknanda meets river Nandakini
  3. Karnaprayag: where river Alaknanda meets river Pinder
  4. Rudraprayag: where river Alaknanda meets river Mandakini
  5. Devprayag: where river Alaknanda meets river Bhagirathi -GANGA

The principal tributaries of the Ganga are Yamuna, Damodar, Sapta Kosi, Ram Ganga, Gomati, Ghaghara, and Son. The river after travelling a distance of 2525 km from its source meets the Bay of Bengal.

Yamuna River System

The Yamuna River is the largest tributary of the Ganga River.

  • It originates from the Yamunotri glacier, at the Bandarpoonch peak in Uttarakhand.
  • The main tributaries joining the river include the Sin, Hindon, Betwa Ken, and Chambal.
  • The Tons is the largest tributary of the Yamuna.
  • The catchment of the river extends to the states of Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh.

Narmada River System

The Narmada is a river located in central India.

  • It rises to the summit of the Amarkantak Hill in Madhya Pradesh state.
  • It outlines the traditional frontier between North India and South India.
  • It is one of the major rivers of peninsular India. Only the Narmada, the Tapti, and the Mahi rivers run from east to west.
  • The river flows through the states of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Maharashtra.
  • It drains into the Arabian Sea in the Bharuch district of Gujarat.

Tapi River System

Tapi River is a central Indian river. It is one of the most important rivers of peninsular India with the run from east to west.

  • It originates in the Eastern Satpura Range of southern Madhya Pradesh state.
  • It flows in a westward direction, draining some important historic places like Madhya Pradesh’s Nimar region, East Vidarbha region and Maharashtra’s Khandesh in the northwest corner of the Deccan Plateau and South Gujarat before draining into the Gulf of Cambay of the Arabian Sea.
  • The River Basin of Tapi River lies mostly in eastern and northern districts Maharashtra state.
  • The river also covers some districts of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat as well.
  • The principal tributaries of Tapi River are Waghur River, Aner River, Girna River, Purna River, Panzara River and Bori River.

Godavari River System

The Godavari River is the second-longest course in India with brownish water which is about 1,450 km (900 miles) in length.

  • The river is often referred to as the Dakshin (South) Ganga or Vriddh (Old) Ganga.
  • It is a seasonal river, dried during the summers, and widens during the monsoons.
  • This river originates from Trimbakeshwar, near Nasik in Maharashtra.
  • It flows southeast across south-central India through the states of Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Orissa, and drains into the Bay of Bengal.
  • The river splits into two streams thus forming a very fertile delta at Rajahmundry.
  • The banks of this river have many pilgrimage sites, Nasik(MH), Bhadrachalam(TS), and Trimbak.
  • Some of its tributaries include Pranahita (A combination of Penuganga and Warda), Indravati River, Bindusara, Sabari, and Manjira.
  • Asia’s largest rail-cum-road bridge which is an engineering feat, links Kovvur and Rajahmundry is located on the river Godavari.

Krishna River System

Krishna is one of the longest rivers in India which is about 1300 km in length.

  • It originates from Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra.
  • It flows through Sangli and meets the sea in the Bay of Bengal.
  • The river flows through the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Tungabhadra River is the main tributary which itself is formed by the Tunga and Bhadra rivers that originate in the Western Ghats.
  • Dudhganga Rivers, Koyna, Bhima, Mallaprabha, Dindi, Ghataprabha, Warna, Yerla, and Musi are some of the other tributaries.

Cauvery River System

The Kaveri (also spelt Cauvery or Kavery) is one of the great rivers of India and is considered sacred by the Hindus.

  • It originates from Talakaveri of Tamil Nadu, located in the Western Ghats about 5,000 feet (1,500 m) above sea level.
  • The Kaveri is also known as Dakshin Ganga.
  • It is a famous pilgrimage and tourist place in the Kodagu district of Karnataka.
  • The headwaters of the river are in the Western Ghats range of Karnataka state, and from Karnataka through Tamil Nadu.
  • The river drains into the Bay of Bengal. The river supports irrigation for agriculture and is considered as a means of support of the ancient kingdoms and modern cities of South India.
  • The river has many tributaries called Arkavathy, Shimsha, Hemavati, Kapila, Shimsha, Honnuhole, Amaravati, Lakshmana Kabini, Lokapavani, Bhavani, Noyyal, and Tirtha.

Mahanadi River System

The Mahanadi is a river in eastern India. The Mahanadi rises in the Satpura Range of central India and flows east to the Bay of Bengal.

  • The Mahanadi drains most of the state of Chhattisgarh and much of Orissa and also Jharkhand and Maharashtra.
    Near the city of Sambalpur, a large dam – the Hirakud Dam – is built on the river.
  • The Mahanadi rises in the Satpura Range of central India and It has a length of around 860 km.
  • It flows east to the Bay of Bengal. The river drains in the state of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Orissa.
  • The largest dam, the Hirakud Dam is built on the river.

Rivers in India, Their Lengths, Origins and Tributaries

The following list shows the names of rivers in India with their lengths, origins, and tributaries.

S. No. Rivers Origin Length (km) End
1. Ganga Gangotri Glacier (Bhagirathi), Uttarakhand 2.525 Bay of Bengal
2. Yamuna Yamunotri Glacier, Uttarakhand 1,376 Merges with Ganga at Allahabad (Triveni Sangam – Kumbh Mela spot
3. Brahmaputra Himalayan Glacier in Tibet, but enters India in Arunachal Pradesh 1,800 Merges with Ganga and ends in Bay of Bengal
4. Chambal Tributary of Yamuna river, starting at Madhya Pradesh 960 Joins Yamuna river in UP
5. Son Tributary of Ganga, starting at Amarkantak, Madhya Pradesh 784 Joins Ganga just above Patna – also considered part of Vindhya river system
6. Gandak Nepal; Ganges tributary at Indo-Nepal border (Triveni Sangam) 630 Joins Ganga near Patna
7. Kosi Starts from Bihar near Indo-Nepal border 720 Joins Ganga near Katihar district of Bihar
8. Betwa Tributary of Yamuna, rises at Vindhya region, MP 590 Joins Yamuna at Hamirpur in UP
9. Gomti Tributary of Ganga, starting at Gomat Taal, UP 900 Joins Ganga in Varanasi district
10. Ghaghara Himalayan Glacier in Tibet, tributary of Ganga 1080 Joins Ganga in Bihar
11. Hugli (Hooghly) Tributary of Ganga near West Bengal 260 Merges with Ganga at Bay of Bengal
12. Damodar Tributary of Hugli near Chandwara, Jharkhand 592 Merges with Hugli in West Bengal
13. Mahananda Paglajhora falls, Darjeeling, West Bengal 360 Merge in Ganga
14. Alaknanda Satopanth & Bhagirathi-Kharak glacier 190 Merge in Ganga, Devprayag, Uttarakhand
15. Bhagirathi Gaumukh, Uttarakhand 205 Merge in Ganga, Devprayag, Uttarakhand
16. Indus Originates in Tibetan plateau, Enters India in J&K 3180 Merges into Arabian sea near Sindh
17. Chenab Upper Himalayas in the Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh 960 Merges with Indus
18. Jhelum Tributary of Chenab river, Punjab 725 Merges with Chenab at Jhang (Pakistan)
19. Ravi Starts from Bara Bhangal, Kangra district, Himachal Pradesh 720 Joins Chenab in Pakistan
20. Sutlej Tributary of Indus river, originates at Rakshastal, Tibet 1500 Meets Beas river in Pakistan and ends at Arabian sea
21. Beas Rises at Himalayas in central Himachal Pradesh 470 Joins Sutlej river in Punjab, India
22. Parbati Mantalai Glacier near Pin Prabati Pass Mixes with Beas River at Bhuntar, near Kullu of Himachal Pradesh
23. Suru Panzella Glacier, Pensi La Pass, Kargil 185 Indus, Nurla, Skardu, Pakistan
24. Dras Machoi Glacier, Zoji La, ear Sonamarg, Jammu & Kashmir 86 Suru River at Kharul, Kargil
25. Zanskar Doda River (First Branch), Kargyag and Tsarap River (Second Branch) Indus River near Nimmu in Ladakh
26. Tsarap Pankpo La, Sarchu 182 Zanskar River, Padum, Kargil
27. Doda Drang-Drung Glacier, Pensi La 79 Zanskar River, Padum, Kargil
28. Kaveri Talakaveri in Western Ghats in Karnataka 765 Ends in Bay of Bengal
29. Krishna Originates in the Western Ghats near Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra 1400 Ends in Bay of Bengal near Andhra Pradesh
30. Godavari Starts in Maharashtra and passes through 7 Indian states 1465 Empties in Bay of Bengal
31. Tungabhadra Tributary of Krishna river staring at Karnataka 531 Joins Krishna river along the border of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh
32. Tapti Rises in Eastern Satpura Ranges, Madhya Pradesh 724 Empties into Gulf of Khambhat, Gujarat
33. Mahi Rises in Madhya Pradesh 580 Flows into Arabian sea from Gujarat
34. Narmada Starts from Amarkantak, Madhya Pradesh 1315 Drains into Arabian sea via Gulf of Cambay
35. Indravati Dandakaranya range, Kalahandi district, Odisha 535 Godavari near border of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Telangana
36. Pranhita Confluence of Wardha and Wainganga, near Sirpur Kaghaznagar 113 Godavari, near Kaleshwaram, Telangana
37. Wardha Satpura range, Multai, Betul district of Madhya Pradesh 528 Pranhita River
38. Kolab (Sabari) Sinkaran hills, Koraput, Odisha 200 Godavari
39. Manjira Balaghat hills 724 Godavari, near Kandakurthi, Karnataka
40. Wainganga Satpura range, Mundara, Seoni district, Madhya Pradesh 579 Pranhita River
41. Painganga Ajanta range, Aurangabad, Maharashtra 676 Wardha river, Chandrapur district, Maharashtra
42. Vedavathi Confluence of Veda and Avathi Tungabhadra river, near Siruguppa
43. Bhima Bhimashankar 861 Krishna river, near raichur
44. Indrayani Lonavala, Maharashtra Bhima river
45. Pavana Sahyadri range, Lonavala Maharashtra 58 Mula river
46. Ghataprabha Western ghats, Sindhudurg, Maharashtra 283 Krishna river, Almatti
47. Venna Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra 130 Krishna river, Satara, Maharashtra
48. Koyna Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra 130 Krishna river, near Karad, Satara
49. Amravati Anamalai hills, Pambar, Chinnar rivers 282 Kaveri river at Karur, Tamil Nadu
50. Bhavani Silent valley National Park, Kerala 135 Kaveri river at Kongu Nadu region of Tamil Nadu
51. Hemavati Western Ghats, Chikmagalur, Karnataka 245 Kaveri river near Krishna Raja Sagara, Karnataka
52. Mahanadi Dhamtari, Dandakaranya, Chhattisgarh 858 Bay of Bengal, near False Point, Kendrapara, Odisha
53. Subarnarekha Chota Nagpur plateau, near Ranchi, Jharkhand 395 Kirtania Port, near Talsari, Bay of Bengal
54. Kangsabati Chota Nagpur plateau, Purulia district, West Bengal 465 Bay of Bengal near Haldia
55. Penner (Penna) Nandi Hills, Chikkaballapur district, Karnataka 597 Bay of Bengal, near Nellore, Andhra Pradesh
56. Palar Nandi hills, Kolar district Karnataka 348 Bay of Bengal, near Vayalur, Tamil Nadu
57. Vaigai Varusanadu Hills, Tamil Nadu 258 Palk Strait, Tamil Nadu
58. Vellar Shevaroy Hills 150 Bay of Bengal, near Parangipettai, Tamil Nadu
59. Ponnaiyar Nandidurg, Chikkaballapur 400 Bay of Bengal
60. Noyyal Velliangiri Hills, Western Ghats, Tamil Nadu 180 Kaveri river
61. Gomai Satpura Range Tapti river, near Prakasha, Nandurbar, Maharashtra
62. Panzara Near Pimpalaner, Dhule, Maharashtra Tapti river
63. Purna Satpura Range, Betul, Madhya Pradesh Tapti river, near Changdev, Maharashtra
64. Kolar Vindhya Range, near Sehore district, Madhya Pradesh 101 Narmada, near Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh
65. Tawa Satpura Range, Betul, Madhya Pradesh 172 Narmada near Hoshangabad district
66. Sabarmati Dhebar lake, Aravalli range, near Udaipur, Rajasthan 371 Gulf of Khambhat
67. Zuari Hemad-Barshem in western ghats 34 Arabian sea
68. Ulhas Near Rajmachi hills, Sahyadri range 122 Vasai creek, Mumbai
69. Mithi Vihar lake and Powai lake 15 Arabian sea, Mahim creek, Mumbai
70. Mandovi Bhimgad, Karnataka 77 Arabian sea
71. Kali Kushavali, Karnataka 184 Arabian sea
72. Netravati Kudremukh, Chikmagalur, Karnataka Arabian sea, near Mangalore, Karnataka
73. Sharavati Western Ghats, Tirthahalli, Karnataka 128 Arabian sea, near Honnavar, Uttar Kannada district, Karnataka
74. Periyar Sivagiri hills, Sundaramala, Tamil Nadu 244 Lakshadweep Sea, Kerala
75. Bharathappuzha Anamalai Hills, Tamil Nadu 209 Lakshadweep Sea, Ponnani, Kerala
76. Pamba Pulachimalai Hills, Western Ghats 176 Vembanad Lake
77. Chaliyar Elambaleri Hills, Western Ghats, Wayanad, Kerala 169 Lakshadweep Sea, Kerala

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Rivers of India Names with States

From the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas to the fertile plains of the Indo-Gangetic basin, and the lush coastal regions, the rivers of India are the lifeblood of the nation, providing sustenance, livelihood, and a sense of belonging to the millions who call this land home. Check the State-wise list of Indian Rivers below  –

S. No. State Rivers
1 Andhra Pradesh Godavari & Musi
2 Bihar Ganga
3 Delhi Yamuna
4 Goa Mandovi
5 Gujarat Sabarmati
6 Haryana Yamuna
7 Jharkhand Damodar, Ganga & Subarnarekha
8 Karnataka Bhadra, Tungabhadra,Cauvery, Tunga & Pennar
9 Kerala Pamba
10 Madhya Pradesh Betwa, Tapti, Wainganga, Khan, Narmada, Kshipra, Beehar, Chambal & Mandakini.
11 Mahrashtra Krishna, Godavari, Tapi and Panchganga
12 Nagaland Diphu & Dhansiri
13 Orissa Brahmini & Mahanadi
14 Punjab Satluj
15 Rajasthan Chambal
16 Sikkim Rani Chu
17 Tamil Nadu Cauvery, Adyar, Cooum, Vennar, Vaigai & Tambarani
18 Uttar Pradesh Yamuna, Ganga & Gomti
19 Uttranchal Ganga
20 West Bengal Ganga, Damodar & Mahananda

Longest Rivers of India

Given below is the list of the longest rivers in India along with their length –

S. No. River Length in India (km) Total Length (km)
1. Ganga 2525 2525
2. Godavari 1464 1465
3. Krishna 1400 1400
4. Yamuna 1376 1376
5. Narmada 1312 1312
6. Indus 1114 3180
7. Brahmaputra 916 2900
8. Mahanadi 890 890
9. Kaveri 800 800
10. Tapti 724 724

Rivers in India, Check Their Origins, Length & Tributaries_40.1


Which is the largest river system of India?

Ganga is the largest river system of India with a length of 2,525 kilometres and an average flow rate of 14,720 m3/s.

Which is the second largest river in India?

Brahmaputra is the second largest river in India having length of 1800 kms.

Which is India's Holiest river?

The Ganges is regarded as the holiest of rivers by Hindus. Places of Hindu pilgrimage, called tirthas, that are situated on the Ganges have particular significance.

Which river forms the Sundarbans delta?

The Ganges (Ganga) and Brahmaputra rivers meet to form the Sundarbans delta, the world's largest mangrove forest and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Which river is known as the "Lifeline of South India"?

The Kaveri River is often referred to as the "Lifeline of South India" as it is crucial for irrigation, agriculture, and the overall economy of the region.

Why are Indian rivers considered sacred?

In Hinduism, many rivers are considered sacred because they are associated with various myths and legends. Additionally, water holds a special place in Indian culture, symbolizing purity and the source of life. The rivers play a crucial role in religious rituals and ceremonies, and people often visit them to seek spiritual blessings.

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